Specialty Food Magazine


Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 82 of 131

category spotlight It's easy to understand why. Consumers find Greek yogurt both healthful and satisfying, thanks to its high protein content and thick creamy texture, even in fat-free varieties. This tradition- ally results from straining out the whey; imitations may contain powdered milk protein, starches, and gums. Its popularity has spawned a f lurry of new product introduc- tions, with yogurt brands launching Greek-style lines and other brands adding Greek yogurt to their recipes. "Greek brought people into the yogurt category," says Amy Levine, director of marketing programs at Cabot Creamery. "Companies are putting Greek yogurt into everything because it is a buzzword. It has a health halo around it and is here to stay." Adds Joe Prewett, director of product management and inno- vation at Tillamook in Oregon: "As manufacturers and retailers search for a new breakthrough product on the scale of Greek, hun- dreds of new items are presented each year in the yogurt category, making it one of the most dynamic segments in grocery." According to the State of the Specialty Food Industry 2014 report (p. 89), yogurt and kefir grew 20.4 percent from 2011 to 2013, reaching $2 billion in sales. The movement has opened doors for other options in the yogurt department. Due to the increased percentage of alternative diets and growing consumer consciousness about food sources and allergies, smaller and natural brands have sprung up and continue to f lourish in the margins of the yogurt aisle. "There is so much yogurt on the market today, uniqueness is what separates products," says Christine Whelan, co-owner of Sahadi's Specialty & Fine Foods. With that, several trends are emerging in the yogurt case. Back to Nature The big divide used to be between organic and conventional yogurt. Now, for many specialty consumers, organic is just the start. Shoppers want their yogurt to be as back-to-basics as possible, made from, for example, impeccably sourced milk. Usually, this means organic, rBST-free milk produced by cows near the stores in which the resulting yogurts are sold. Grass-fed cows are a plus. Consumers also respond to small-batch, self-described "artisanal" operations. Touting these claims is part of the game. Lifeway Foods cre- ated an infographic for its website, "From Farm to Fridge," to show consumers the path its products take from start to finish, while Stonyfield boasts organic certification along with a visual break- down of the differences between milks that come from organic and non-organic cows. Following the path of least adulteration, the whole-milk yogurt category has seen a boost in interest. The Packaged Foods yogurt report states that in Q4 2012 whole-milk yogurt saw a 21.6 percent increase in sales. In line with this trend, Fage recently added whole- milk "Classic" products to its Fruyo blended yogurt and fruit line, changing up what was once a completely fat-free line. "Whole milk has turned around in the last few years," says Redwood Hill Farm and Creamery owner Jennifer Lynn Bice, whose Green Valley Organic brand uses milk from a local California farm with 1,700 acres of grass for grazing. "People want to get back to the most natural yogurt with the fewest ingredients. … The minute you start doing low- or nonfat, you have to add other ingredients to thicken the yogurt." Liam Callahan, owner of Bellwether Farms, echoes that From left: Dreaming Cow in blueberry cardamom and Coconut Grove in strawberry; carrot and cabbage slaw with Blue Hill Farm's carrot yogurt; Tillamook peach raspberry a la mode yogurt 80 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com CatSpotlight_yogurt.indd 80 3/17/14 3:51 PM

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